The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 is a reflection of the achievable: it is incremental and the product of a deeply divided government. For those concerned with the fiscal trajectory of the nation, there is more to like than dislike. In general, policy matters more than mere dollars. Yes, a dollar saved is a dollar not borrowed, and all else being equal, that’s a fiscally sound approach. But a dollar saved from a single year cut that is quickly replaced the following year is a poor substitute for policy changes that continue to build over time. That is the essential bargain that is made with the Bipartisan Budget Act, which trades increases in discretionary spending (essentially core functions of the federal government) with savings in transfer programs and other mandatory programs.
At its inception, Medicare was designed to be a hospital insurance plan for the elderly, motivated by expensive hospital stays that neither the hospitals nor their aging patients could afford.
Yesterday, the administration announced that the ACA’s enrollment nationally through the month of November had totaled about 364,000 and just about 137,000 had enrolled through the Federal exchange. The National Journal writes “The disappointing report on November enrollment is not a surprise: HealthCare.gov was not working for consumers for most of the month, and HHS wasn't trying to direct people to the site.”
The Recovery Audit (RA) Program exists to detect and correct improper claims to the Medicare program. The contracted firms are paid a portion of their recoveries, so the program delivers savings to the Medicare Trust Fund at no cost.
Despite the weather-induced closure of most of the Federal government, five agencies were able to ratify the final version of perhaps the most anticipated Dodd-Frank regulation.
The big news this morning is that Congressional negotiators reached a budget agreement last night that will fund the government for the next two years.
Wednesday morning, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released nation-wide enrollment data for Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance exchanges through the first two months of the program.
Today five financial regulatory agencies offered the final version of the so-called “Volcker rule,” as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. The Volcker Rule is intended to circumscribe allowable activities by financial institutions that benefit directly (or linked to entities that benefit) from deposit insurance and other government protections.